Archive for the ‘E-mail Pointers’ category

3 Big Mistakes That Artists Make

November 8, 2010

The below suggestions have probably appeared on Grassrootsy in various posts, but last week I thought I’d loosely keep tabs on artist emails and FB messages and tweets  just to see what people are still doing these days.  Here are a few…

1. Falling off the map
What!?  Who are you?  Oh…I almost forgot because I haven’t heard from you in 3 months!  This might be a pet peeve of mine.  Don’t send your fans an email every 3 months and expect them to remember who you are. In the age of over-saturation, you’ll have a much greater shelf-life if you communicate too often as opposed to not enough. Falling off the map after having a successful run is like going 3 steps forward and 2 steps back. Granted, everyone needs a break at some point. But occasionally touch base with your fans to remind them you still exist. See: Setting the Record Straight: Reminding People You Still Exist for more thoughts on the matter.

2. Launch a website with nothing on it.
This is aonther personal pet peeve of mine.  If you want people to be interested in your music, don’t send them a Facebook invite to your band’s page if there’s no music on it. Duh. And don’t send people a link to your new website if it’s completely blank. What is it you want them to see when they get there?

This is also equivalent to inviting your friends to an event via Facebook. Let’s say you want your friends to come see you and “John Doe” perform at club “XYZ”.  Make sure the Facebook invite has links to both your websites.  That way, folks can actually check out your music and make an informed decision about attending the show. An informed fan is an involved one. People will eat the information you give them so make sure you give them something worth digesting. See: Perception is Reality for more on this.

2. No email address?
Yea, you probably have one but if you don’t put it on your website, no one would ever know!  Have you noticed that you can’t  send messages to the administrator of a Facebook Page. Annoying. So if you don’t have your email address in the “Info” section (or better yet, in the information box on the home page), how can anyone reach you? Some things aren’t meant for the Facebook wall.

And, believe it or not, folks still use MySpace to check out new artists.  But at this point, you should know you can’t email someone on MySpace unless you have an account…and people aren’t really creating MS accounts these days.  SO if you don’t have your email address in a very visible location, you’re potentially missing out on bookings…etc.

Even worse is having a website with no email address on the contact page. Contact forms are great, but an email address will travel further, faster.

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The Venue & The Artist – The Ultimate Partnership

March 1, 2010

"I've emailed 15 times! Why aren't you returning my messages? Your venue sucks and my band is cancelling our show!

On Wednesday, I’ll be interviewing Daren, booker and promoter for Joe Squared, a pretty cool, hipster venue in Baltimore, MD. Joe Squared is a venue (one of the few) that puts as much energy into promoting its events as the artists it books. They’re cool people and they’ve got great tips on how artists can make the best of their event.  Today’s post shares tips on how to get the best out of your relationship with a venue…from the artists perspective.

Its happened to all of us – you’ve got a really great show coming up at ABC venue, but ABC venue is terrible in keeping up with communication and isn’t as excited about your show as you are. How do you both get on the same page?

1.  Offer Your Commitment. Once the date is confirmed, prove that you are committed to making this event as successful as possible.

  • example: “Hi Jay. Thanks for the confirmation. I plan to have  the artist lineup completed by next week. I’ll get back to you with the name of the other bands. I should also have artwork completed by the 1st of the month and will follow that with getting the word out.  Can I drop posters by your office in the near future? Please let me know how many you’ll need.”

2. Don’t hassle. Remind. What? They haven’t put your event up on their website yet? Assuming you booked the show 1-3 months in advance, give it a few weeks or so, after the booking, and then contact them.

  • example:   “Hi Jay, I noticed our show isn’t up on the calendar. Just wanna make sure we’re still confirmed for the 25th”

3.  Put a Face to Your Name. If you can go by the store, do so.  If the venue owner or booker meets you, they’re more likely to respond to your emails in a timely fashion. Also, remember that some people still prefer phone to email. If you’re not getting any responses back via cyber space, try a friendly nudge via the phone.

4.  Don’t do it if you’re not excited about it. There are a number of legitimate reasons you might not be excited for a show. Perhaps the venue doesn’t value its artists. Or perhaps there’s too much work for little or no return. If you’re not pumped to play, DONT DO THE SHOW! your lack of excitement will most likely reflect itself in your promotion (or lack thereof). It won’t do you or the venue any good.

These posts will help you too:

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Hey, What Day is It? (Getting Into The Consumers Head)

July 20, 2009

internet_01

Are you planning your music marketing according to specific days of the week? You should be?  Check out this post for sure-fire ways to make the most of your online promotions. 

Monday
It’s Monday! Do you know who’s watching you? Monday is considered the day of fresh information. Everything is new new new!  Consider this: the average 9-5er arrives at his/her desk in the morning (please refer to obese man above), turns on the computer, and tunes into msn.com for the week’s political news, reviews on which movie did best at the weekend box office, and anything else that might be hot off the press.  On Monday, people want to know what they’ve missed since Friday (though is probably not much).

Do you take Mondays seriously?  Treat your music like a job.  Try to have something new on your page each Monday. Whether it be a blog, new shows on your calendar, a quick news update, new photos from the weekend’s show, or new video.  The options are limitless and its not like you have to revamp your page every week…just do a little at a time.

Rule of thumb: If you build it, they will come. Read more about this at Drawing Traffic to your Website(s)

Wednesday
In college, my Communications professor told me something I will never forget: most people open their email on Wednesdays. Yes, this has been mentioned on Grassrootsy before, but its worth mentioning again. Wednesday is a unique day. Because it finds itself smack dab in the middle of the week, its the one day that you’re least likely to get “Out of Office” replies. More people at their desk = more people reading their email = more people visiting your website. Optimize on this.  Send your newsletter on Wednesday mornings or afternoons if possible.  Stop by Email Marketing – Making Sure People Read What You Write for more tips. 

Rule of thumb: Send emails on Wed…in the morn or after lunch. Check out Grassrootsy’s additional blogs on Email Marketing here.

Weekends
Stats prove that few erpeople read emails and surf the internet on the weekends, but the people who do are more likely to read through an entire email and will spend more time on your web page than they would on a weekday.  For example, if you sent an email on Wednesday, you might get 100 people to open and they would spend an average of 45 second skimming through what you write.  But on a Saturday, only 40 people might open up the email but spend a full 3 minutes reading it entirely.

So if you’re posting a blog or sending a weekend email, make sure it’s not time-sensitive.  Perhaps you can post musings, and non-essential thoughts.  Take it from msn.com: Their weekend news bits are usually reposts of information that that was already used earlier in the week.

 Rule of thumb: Never send an email on the weekend that you would send on a Monday or Wednesday.

 

Give it a Try!
So its a new week!  Give the above recommendations a try and post a comment on your findings if you can.  Check Wednesday’s post for ways to take advantage of your faithful weekend followers.

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Getting People to Sign Up For Your Newsletter

May 14, 2009
Joel Rakes

Joel Rakes

The Newsletter is the single most important part of being a musicians (ya, i’ve only said that 10,000 tims in this blog).  Can you imagine what would happen if major artists didn’t have newsletters? They’d make only a fraction of their normal income.  For example, I get Death Cab For Cutie’s emails in my inbox all the time…and that’s the only way I find out about new CD’s, tour schedules, new music videos, and blogs.  Without that newsletter I have nothing to prompt me to visit the website.  Withought that newsletter, there’s no way for me to excited about their upcoming releases, or first dibs on concert tickets…etc.

You’ve heard me say it so many times on this blog, but you NEED a sign-up sheet at all of your shows. You need it on your merch table. You  need to pass it around.  Its better for people to sign you newsletter than to buy your CD.  An email last alot longer than $10.  If you get an email address, you have the chance to start a “relationship” with your fans.  The lines of communication are open and they will undoubtedly bring more income your way (wether that means buying your CD later, or paying to come to many future shows).

Now here’s some fresh information.  Here are some ways to build that newsletter other than what has already been mentioned…

Be Clear
People are hesitant to sign up for any type of newsletter these days…for the simple reason that there’s so much SPAM out there (see Email Marketing – A Few Things You Should NEVER Do). At your shows, take the time to tell people what they’ll be getting in their inbox.  Tell fans you’ll only email once a week or once every two weeks. If you have fans in several states, make sure they know you will only email them if you’re coming to their area.  And tell people they will be able to opt out of your emails if they decide they’re no longer interested.  And then…prove it.  Send meaningful information in your emails so people know they didnt sign up for crap!

Offer Incentives: Free Song(s)
Philadelphia Singer/Songwriter Joel Rakes has something he called “Free Refills”.  Any person who subscribes to his newsletter automatically gets free, regular downloads of new songs.  Promos like this are extremely effective. When people know they are getting something that others aren’t priveleged to, it adds value to the product.

Also check out the Getting Others to Help You Promote Your Music post for details on NoiseTrade.  Noisetrade not only collects a persons contact info in exchange for free music, but also requires that person to recommend 5 other friends who might like your music. 

Use that html code
Most Mailing List Providers help you generate email signup forms (html code) for your website. Put that code on your myspace, and on your website.  It might even be possible to put the form on every page if it works with the layout of your website.  If anything, its important to put the signup form on your homepage and/or themost trafficked page of your website.

 

If you have other tips or things you’ve done to build your list, please suggest them.

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Email Marketing – A Few Things You Should NEVER Do

May 4, 2009

 spam

Read the 1st half of this post: Email Marketing – A Few Things You Should ALWAYS Do.

Do You like SPAM?
If you don’t like SPAM, then don’t assume others will.  This should be common sense, but I’m surprised by how many people don’t realize they’re spammers. If you’re promoting an event don’t send updates every day or every two days.  Stick with once a week at the most.  Continually sending messages will decrease the likelihood of people opening, reading, and/or acknowledging your information. So don’t do it!

Never Expect Email Recipients to Read Your Whole Email
9 times our of 10, you’ll be the only one reading your newsletter from top to bottom. This is why its extremely important to break your newsletter into small paragraphs of information.  Sending a 500 word newsletter without any line breaks is a huge mistake  and will discourage people from opening/reading.  As mentioned in  Email Marketing – A Few Things You Should ALWAYS Do, do something special to make the important facts stand out, but don’t make everything stand out, b/c it only becomes cluttered.

Quality not Quantity
In the same vein as the last paragraph, give good information, not lengthy information.  If you can get your point across in  only a few words, do it.   If it takes a mouthful, at least make sure all your information is necessary.  This doesn’t mean you cant take the time to be personal, but be tactful about it.


Dont disclose the email addresses of your subscribers
 
If you’re using a Mailing List Provider, then you won’t have to worry about this. But if you’re sending emails from your everyday email account, regularly make use of BCC (blind carbon copy).  When you disclose people’s email addresses to hundreds of random people, you can easily lose subscribers’ trust.  This is how ppl get on FWD lists.  For more on this, check out this article: “Sending Mass Emails Without Disclosing Recipients.”

Don’t forget to check out an older post entitled Email Marketing – Making Sure People Read What You Write.

Here’s a really excellent article on About.com with plenty of priceless tips on email marketing: Email Marketing Tips, Tricks, and Secrets.

 

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Email Marketing – A Few Things You Should ALWAYS Do

April 29, 2009

cb-copy 

Below are a couple things that I’ve found make for a more successful e-blast to your subscribers.  Be sure to subscribe to other people’s newsletters. You can learn alot from seeing what other people do.  And if you’d like more tips on Email marketing after reading the below, check out the Email Marketing – Making Sure People Read What You Write post. 

 

Remember…
Remember that many people (especially those using Outlook) have a preview pane.  This means they will see the top portion of your email before they see the rest.  In addition to making the upper-most information in your email the most important, you always want to make it the most interesting…an attention grabber that will make readers want to open and read the full email.

Find Simple ways to Emphasize Important Facts
Are you highlighting everything, increasing font sizes, and using alot of exclamation marks. Just pick the most important fact(s) and do something to make it/them stand out?  Dont!  If you make that one piece of essential information stand out, people will notice and gravitate towards it…even if its at the bottom of the page. I find what works best is bolding something in redsee example.


Using Professional Mailing List Provider (MLP)
Use a professional mail list provider.  There are so many that are available for free or a minimal price.  My top picks would be Your Mailing List Provider or FanBridge, but don’t forget Constant Contact, Zinester, and Listbox.  If you’re more well-versed in web development (or have someone who is), try Phplist.  It allows you to manage your own subscribers instead of going through a mailing list provider. In other words, your newsletters are developed, maintained, and sent with your website having full control over everything. You wouldnt see another companies logo at the bottom of the email, and you’d be able to manipulate html to make your list behave exactly as you want Does that make sense?  No? Ok, head over to www.phplist.com to read more.

One thing I like about YMLP is that people can check out your archives. So even if they are not subscribed to your newsletter, they can still gain access to your newsletter to see what’s going on (I’m sure other mailing list providers might allow this). Visit www.joyike.com/newsletter and click “Archives” see what I mean. 

 Using an official MLP will allow subscribers to easily unsubscribe or update their subscription info. People are less likely to do that if you are sending emails with no official system in order.
 

Check back on Monday for “Email Marketing – A Few Things You should NEVER Do“.

 

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little things that make a BIG difference!

April 22, 2009
TJ Cornwall

TJ Cornwall

Whats the basic rule of thumb? Don’t take anything for granted. Yes, artists are generally big dreamers, but that doesn’t mean you overlook the simple, practical things. If anything it means you need to pay even more attention to the small details in order to make the big things better.  Here are few things that are extremely important in my opinion.

Test everything
Before sending out an email to your subscribers, make sure you send yourself a copy.  Put yourself in the shoes of a recipient.  Is the email readable and broken into small paragraphs so that its easy to digest?  If you were a fan, would the email layout be appealing and worth opening?  Read the Email Marketing – Making Sure People Read What You Write post for tons of other great tips.  This same concept applies to laying out your website and myspace…etc.

The really small thing(s)
Who knew that a small thing like Twitter could make such a difference in the 21st Century.  Some people don’t “get” Twitter. I still don’t “get” it but I know its the simplest form of communication the internet offers.  Write a one-liner, click “send” and it goes out to all your followers.  Within a few seconds I can get out an insignificant or very important peice of news to anyone who is following me

Why do small things like this make a huge difference?  Well, its important to realize that when you have committed fans, they want to know everything about you. And they want to communicate with you.  If they already have a copy of your CD, the next best thing is having a chance to get a sneak peak into your life via blogs, twitter, facebook status changes, the list goes on and on.  And when they can directly communicate with you, it only enhances their feeling of really “knowing” you.  Building relationship is really what its all about.  I’ve been following TJ Cornwall on twitter for a few weeks and he does a really good job with this.

I can also tell you from personal experience, that after sending out a quick msg on twitter or facebook saying “hey, I’m going to So & So’s Open Mic at 7pm” people have decide to come out!  Twitter works. And  people are more likely to read a short twitter msg than a 300 word blog.  Twitter is basically catering to the average persons short attention span. Sad…i know!  But it works!

Scoping out the room
The first thing you should do when you get to a venue is determine the most visible, central spot to layout your CDs.  This is a very simple thing that makes a huge difference.  Alot of artists prefer to hold onto their CDs until the end of their set…but believe me keeping your music in a visible spot gives show attendees a chance to to eye it and decide (throughout the course of the night) whether they want to invest in your tunes. Read the Looking Professional Even When You’re Not (or are you? i just can’t tell!)  post for more ideas on displaying your merch. 

Setting Goals
Ya…its really a matter of just writing it down. For more on this  check out the What’s the Worst That Can Happen? Really post.

If you have other small/BIG suggestions, please post in comments.

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